The world's best golfers will tee it up at Mission Hills on Thursday vying to triumph in the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration.

World No.1 Lydia Ko headlines the field, which included 19 of the world's top 20, coming off her first win on Tour in 2016 at the Kia Classic. Having captured the 2015 Evian Championship in September, the New Zealander will be hoping to take last week's momentum to Palm Springs in her search for back-to-back majors.

No.2 Inbee Park and No.3 Lexi Thompson return this week having previously won at Mission Hills Country Club, Park winning in 2013 and Thompson getting it done the following year for her first major title.

Meanwhile defending champion Brittany Lincicome is looking to match what only Annika Sorenstam and Amy Alcott have been able to achieve. With a win, Lincicome would become just the second player to go back-to-back in this event, a feat previously accomplished by Sorenstam in 2001 and 2002, and third to win the event for a third time, joining the company of Sorenstam who won again in 2005 and Alcott who won in 1983, 1988 and 1991.

Britain and Ireland have a number of hopefuls competing. Jodi Ewart Shadoff comes to Mission Hills off a strong performance at the Kia Classic last week, whilst compatriots Melissa Reid and Charley Hull will be hoping to earn their first major championship.

Ireland's Stephanie Meadow will be hoping to replicate the lightening start to her professional career in 2014 when she made an incredible debut at the Women’s US Open, finishing third. Last year Meadow was honoured with the Heather Farr Perseverance Award  which recognises a player who, through her hard work and dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination and perseverance on the road to fulfilling her goals.

Two British amateurs will tee it up this week. Leona Maguire, world number 1 ranked amateur golfer was invited to play in the LPGA Major thanks to an agreement between the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the European Golf Association (EGA). Maguire has held world number 1 amateur position since May 2015 and will be joined by fellow amateur Bronte Law, the current world number 4. Law is a member at Bramhall Golf Club and a student at UCLA in California – and holds a superb amateur record having won back-to-back English Ladies titles. Law has previously played in the Ricoh Women’s British Open, finishing 33rd in 2012.

It is tradition that the winner of the Tournament takes a leap into Poppie’s Pond, which is part of Champions Lake. Amy Alcott was the first to jump into the lake in 1988 in celebration and the tradition has been carried on every year since then.

Lydia Ko Earns First Victory Of The Year. Read More

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